David Meggyesy, author of the classic football memoir, "Out of Their League," is Thorne Dreyer's guest on Rag Radio. We talk about why he quit the NFL at the peak of his career; his 25 years working with the players' union and his role in bringing free agency to the NFL; groups he helped start, including Athletes United for Peace and Jocks for Joynts; the "war games" nature and extreme violence of today's football, including head injuries and brain damage, domestic violence; and the O'Bannon case over rights of college athletes.
David Meggyesy was an all-American linebacker at Syracuse University and for seven years, from 1963-'69, played for the St. Louis (now Arizona) Cardinals of the NFL. Meggyesy's best-selling football autobiography, "Out of Their League," was included in Sports Illustrated's 100 best sports books ever written. During his playing career he was extensively involved in the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements. He co-founded the Esalen Sports Center and is president of the board of Athletes United for Peace. For 25 years he was an organizer for the National Football League Players Association.
David, who has lectured at more than 200 colleges and taught a seminar on Sports Consciousness and Social Change at Stanford, has been an advocate for change in professional and college sports and is a leader in developing a more comprehensive view of sport as a positive process for human growth and social transformation. He has written extensively on issues regarding sport and society, and sport and human potential for publications like The New York Times and USA Today, and has appeared on ESPN, CBS Sports, HBO Sports, and more.
About "Out of Their League": "Dave Meggyesy had been an outside linebacker with the St. Louis Cardinals for seven years when he quit at the height of his career to tell about the dehumanizing side of the game -- about the fraud and the payoffs, the racism, drug abuse, and incredible violence. The original publication of Out of Their League shocked readers and provoked the outraged response that rocked the sports world in the 1970s. But his memoir is also a moving description of a man who struggled for social justice and personal liberation."
Host and Producer of Rag Radio: Thorne Dreyer; Engineer and Co-Producer: Tracey Schulz; Apprentice: Ken Martin; Photographer: Roger Baker. Rag Radio (koop.org/ragradio) is produced in the studios of KOOP 91.7-FM, an all-volunteer, cooperatively-run community radio station in Austin, Texas, in association with The Rag Blog (TheRagBlog.com) and the New Journalism Project, a Texas 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The show is broadcast (and streamed) live Fridays, 2-3 p.m. (Central) on KOOP, and is rebroadcast and streamed on WFTE-FM in Mt. Cobb and Scranton, PA., Sundays at 10 a.m. (Eastern time) and on Houston Pacifica's KPFT HD-3 90.1 on Wednesdays at 1 p.m. (Central). Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. Running time: 57:12.